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The Primary Goal of Life

While it may be argued that God's purpose for creating us is to glorify himself, in many ways God is glorified regardless of our cooperation. Those who end up in hell end up glorifying God's judicial nature. And those whose destiny is heaven end up glorifying his graciousness. But when it comes to exercising our free will as Christians, what should be our goal in life? The Bible teaches that that goal of the Christian life is to please God.
"We make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."2Cor 5:9,10
This said it can implied that not all please God to the same degree.  For how could it be a goal if it were to by simply taken for granted? God loves everyone, even his enemies. And if he loves his enemies certainly he loves his own. But God liking people is quite a different matter. Who does God prefer to be around? He loves his enemies, but because he doesn't like them, due to their unrepentance and lack of humility, refusing to listen to him, he casts them into hell. "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell." Ps 5:4  But neither does he take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather hopes for their repentance. "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"Eze 18:23  "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"Eze 18:32

Now as for those who belong to Christ, those who have repented and put their faith in Christ, he not only loves he also likes. He prefers our presence. Jesus said, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am." John 17:24 And "if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:3 As also do we prefer his presence. "They follow the Lamb wherever he goes." Rev 14:4 "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." Ps 84:10 But just as not all children of God prefer God's presence to the same degree (how do you use your free time?), so also God does not prefer the presence of every individual child of God to the same degree. For example of the apostle John it is written, "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him." John 13:23 Why was he singled out as being the one whom Jesus loved, and notice his proximity to Jesus. He sought to be near him. So especially if not all are preferred to the same desgree, pleasing God is a goal not to be taken for granted.

How to please God


The prerequisite to pleasing God is faith. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Heb 11:6 And so also in the passage above where Paul mentions pleasing him as the goal, he says just previous to that, "We live by faith, not by sight." 2Cor 5:7 Pleasing God is not achievable by those who not of the faith. "Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." Heb 10:38 But is it faith alone which pleases God. No! Faith is the prerequisite. It's when we act on Biblical faith we please God.


Being prayed for by other Christians also helps to develop in us the things that please God. Here are three prayers you can utilize in praying for other Christians which will help them to please God:

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ" Heb 13:20,21

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power" 2Thess 1:11

Col 1:9-12
"we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."


There are many areas of life which I'll touch on in another study, such as those mentioned in Eph 4:22-32, in which we may be grieving the Holy Spirit. It is not pleasing to God when we sin.  To please God we need to learn to submit to His tastes and preferences.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Godís mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Godó this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godís will isó his good, pleasing and perfect will." Rom 12:1,2

While Holiness tends primarily to deal with getting rid of sinful attitudes and actions, Love conversely involves developing godly attitudes and actions. And like two arms of the cross we must keep both Love and Holiness in balance in the Christian life.

As with Holiness, teachings concerning the practice of love are quite extensive. As such I'll just mention the basic concept here and later deal with the particulars. Love towards God is show by our obedience. "This is love for God: to obey his commands." 1John 5:3 "If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15God is pleased not simply when we express our love to him in worship, but also when we obey his commands concerning lovng others.

Notice that pleasing God is not firstly a matter of doing what's right and not doing what's wrong. Nor is pleasing God primarily about the performance of rituals. Rather what is of first importance is taking on the right application-oriented attitude. Faith is an attitude, not a work. Though application-oriented faith naturally produces works. Humility is an attitude. Holiness is firstly an attitude. Love is firstly an attitude. The living of the Christian life is primarily about developing and maintaining the right attitudes. A Christian's performance is largely a function of his attitutudes.

Discussion Questions

To you what is the primary goal of the Christian life? (Not necessarily the purpose, but the goal which the Christian attempts to achieve?)

What arguments may be made for and against the idea that all of God's children do not please him to the same degree?

How might evaluating the usage of one's free time be a measure of the degree to which that person likes God?

What are prerequisites to pleasing God?

Besides our making efforts to please God, what can others do to help us achieve that goal?

Without getting into details, describe the basic principles behind a Christian's effort to please God?

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Dec 22,2023